Government announces hike in tourist visa fees
The Government of Nepal has decided to increase visa fees for tourists visiting Nepal from July 17. According to the Department of Tourism, the visa fees have remained constant for the past 10 years. Eshor Raj Poudel, Director General at the Department of Immigration reiterated the fact that it was long overdue and added that they are going to start charging the increased visa fees soon.
According to news websites Poudel said that the revision will be made based on equality and reciprocity; if a Nepali national is paying USD 100 to visit Sweden, then a Swedish national should also pay the equal amount to visit Nepal. According to the authorities there has been a nominal increase in fees so that it doesn’t affect the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign but the said fees will be revised once again after the end of 2020.
However the tourism industry is not upbeat about the hike in visa fees. Bijay Amatya, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kora Tours Pvt.Ltd. said, “This is not the right time to increase tourist visa fees, specially when VNY 2020 is around the corner. We should be availing the tourists offers and discounts rather than this. Decisions like this if they had to be made should have been made earlier.”
Gratis Visa is issued free of cost by Immigration Department of Nepal for SAARC citizens (except Afghanistan) for 30 days and for Chinese nationals. The department has hiked visa fee for tourists at a range of between USD 5 and USD 35. While the tourist visa fee for 15 days (multiple entry) has been raised to USD 30 from USD 25, tourist visa fee for 30 days (multiple entry) has been raised to USD 50 from USD 40.
Tourist visa fees in Malaysia for 15 days is USD 27.40 and for 30 days is USD 58.27. In comparison, for tourists arriving in Nepal the 15-day visa fee is higher but the 30-day fee comes out to be lesser than Malaysia after the hike. Whereas in Vietnam they charge USD 20 for 30 days, which is lesser than the 30-day visa fees in Nepal and Malaysia.
According to Mohan Lamichhane at Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), with VNY 2020 very close the government should not be hasty in increasing visa fees. Nepal is not an easily accessible destination and this decision at this point in time might send out a negative message to tourists. “We should first focus on increasing our tourist inflow as it affects various factors such as employment, economy et cetera before making such decisions,” he said.